1. ) As we begin this play, you get to know Nora quickly in this first act. What are your initial thoughts of her? Why do you think that? If you could predict what will happen involving her, what would you predict? Nora in the first act, seems to be a featherhead and completely subservient to her husband’s wishes. In fact he treats her like a doll for his amusement rather than a human being with any sort of intelligence. This is the impression we get based on her conversation with her husband.
She has just come back from Christmas shopping and she seems content with his indulgence as he playfully scolds her for spending money recklessly. Yet, her conversation with Mrs. Linde throws a different light on her character. She hints to Mrs. Linde that when her husband was ill, she did “odds and ends, needlework, crotchet-work, embroidery, and that kind of thing” to make the ends meet. The fact that her husband is not aware of this predicts that this secret would come to light and there would be trouble for her. A Doll’s House Act II 2. You met Krogstad in act 1, and as act 2 progresses, you get to know a bit more about his character. What do you think of him? Do you like / trust him? Why or why not? Krogstad is the man from whom Nora had borrowed money without her husband’s knowledge. Even though she had borrowed it for his sake, she didn’t want her husband to come to know of it because she was afraid that her marriage would be affected. So she is shocked when Krogstad comes to her house. Initially he assures her that he has just come to see her husband for some business related to the bank.
Yet, as the story progresses, Krogstad asks Nora to use her influence with her husband to ensure that he does not lose his position with the bank to which Nora replies she has no such influence on her husband. Krogstad then threatens her with letting the cat out of the bag if Nora didn’t comply with his request and ensured that he did not lose his position. All this points to the fact that there is something shady about the character of Krogstad and therefore we cannot trust him. For one he had done something offensive in his professional duties that called for his dismissal.
Secondly he blackmails Nora to use her influence and that reiterates that he is not a person worth trusting. A Doll’s House Act III 3. ) Now that you’ve wrapped up the play, I want you to discuss Nora’s progression. I know you disagree with her leaving her kids, but try to look past that. Do you think she grew as a person? Why or why not? How? Do you like / respect her more or less than when you first met her? Why? Nora is a victim of a patriarchal society that sees women not as subjects but as objects.
The fact is poignantly brought out in Nora’s parting conversation with her husband Torvald where she recounts how first her father and then he had treated her as an object of amusement. When he comes to know that she had borrowed money without his consent he goes so far as to berate her character and say that she would not be fit enough to bring up their children. Yet the moment he realizes the secret would not be let out that he has a change of heart. It is during this conversation that Nora grows up from a doll to transform into a woman of substance.
She realizes the injustice of the society and her loved ones towards her and decides to leave her husband and children to “educate herself” before she could educate the children. Here she wins our respect because she takes on the society to fight for her dignity and respect. 4. ) After contemplating that, I want you to think about alternate endings. Ibsen was criticized quite a bit for this piece, and was even forced to write a different ending. Knowing what you know about people and their growth, do you think a different ending would have fit this piece? Why or why not?
The alternate ending would have been that Nora reconciles with her husband and they work at a new relationship based on respect for each other and he no longer treats her as a doll for his amusement. Yet, this would not be a befitting end to this story because through Nora’s character Isben highlights the social struggle and the fight against the dehumanizing oppression of women, particularly in the middle-class family that existed during that period. So Nora’s leaving is in a way symbolic of her defiance to oppression and her fight for her dignity for as she says, her first duty is to herself and then to her children and husband.